Koen speaks…

Sharing my experiences of self-learning Korean language!

Supernatural Powers ( 초능력) I wish I had !!! — April 25, 2020

Supernatural Powers ( 초능력) I wish I had !!!

Ever since I was a young kid, I had a very active sense of imagination. I didn’t see any imaginary characters or anything as a kid but I used to imagine ‘situations’ that would possibly follow an event that I witnessed. I remember gathering my friends and telling them that since our teacher or a friend said this today or did this today, she will most probably do this or say this tomorrow. “You wait for it!” I would say. (지금 보면 어릴때부터 눈치 빠른 것 같기도 하고요.)

I was fascinated by supernatural powers (초능력). My earliest memory of learning about supernatural powers was probably from the cartoon show called Barbapapa, a French animation series which originally started in 1973. It used to be telecasted in our national TV channel years later, probably when I was 5 or 6 years old. It featured a family of shape-shifting blobs who could change their body shapes into anything they wanted. I was absolutely amazed by the Barbapapas and I really loved the show. To this day, I am quite animated to talk about the show and am thrilled to meet anyone who remembers watching it and shares childhood memories similar to mine.

Another huge influencers to this interest, I would say, were two other American classic fantasy sitcoms “I dream of Jeannie” or simply Genie, as we called it and “Bewitched”, which featured supernatural beings as the lead characters: the 2,000-year old Genie and the Witch, who could do anything with a blink of her eyes or a spell.

I dream of Jeannie and BewitchedSince then I wished I had dozens of supernatural powers both as a kid as well as an adult. Strangely though I always believed from a very early age that supernatural powers do not or cannot exist in real life. So I only wished and longed for them. Some of the supernatural powers that I wished I had included: 순간이동 (Teleportation), 텔레파시 (Telepathy), 순간기억능력 (Photographic Memory), 양손잡이 (Ambidexterity), 음악, 무용, 미술에 뛰어난 능력 (Enhanced skills in Music, Dance, Art), 시간 여행 할수 있는 능력 (Time Travel), 투명 인간 (Invisibility), Ability to fix broken things or construct things, and Of course, the ability to understand and speak all languages (I think it’s called Aligist or something like that).
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The Beauty of 고생하셨습니다 and 수고하셨습니다 — April 6, 2020

The Beauty of 고생하셨습니다 and 수고하셨습니다

I have been thinking about writing about this topic for quite some time now, but never actually brought myself to do it. But now that more than one third of the global population is under some form of lockdown, including Nepal of course, all I have is time (I’ve already run out of my stock of snacks including my secret stash of sweets). So, here’s a random post, more of a diary entry or an ITAKI post actually, but never mind, blog post it is! (If you want a purely Korean language related content, feel free to skip a few paragraphs until you find a smiley face. 🙂)

It’s DAY 14 of nationwide lockdown in Nepal. We’ve been ordered to “Stay at Home and Stay Put” for the past two weeks and that’s what we’ve been doing. We have a total of 9 positive cases of Covid 19 so far with one person already recovered and the other eight people under treatment. No deaths so far (fingers crossed). Out of the 9 positive cases, 8 had recent travel histories to affected regions and only one case of local transmission so far. Not an alarming number compared to our neighbouring countries like China (81,708 cases, So they say!) or India (4,553 cases) or other Asian countries, but all of us are convinced that it’s only a matter of time and the numbers are bound to rise, given the fact that not even 100 tests are carried out per day and we have a population of around 29.3 million.

Basically, the Government has closed our borders and shut down everything except for few essential services such as: hospitals, communication, press, transportation of essential goods, electricity, fuel distribution, drinking water & other essential based services, hotels & other basic tourism related services, waste management services, banking & insurance services, national security, and few, key construction and manufacturing based projects (upon fulfilling a long list of protocols).  We can leave our houses to go for grocery shopping for essential goods and for work, if you work in one of the earlier mentioned essential services. And that’s pretty much it!

🙂 Now, what’s that got to do with this post about 고생하셨습니다 and 수고하셨습니다? Well, I happen to work in one the “essential” service industries (Nope! Not a Doctor! Or a Nurse! Or a Health Worker! Never even dreamt of becoming one either! I always thought I’d be a teacher! 어릴때는 다른 사람들을 가르치는게 그렇게 좋아해서요!!!). Anyyy wayyyy, I have to go to work occasionally. It’s mostly work from home, but I have to go to work sometimes; mainly because I live very close to my workplace (apparently not an advantage during a lockdown, when you don’t want to go to the office, but can’t say no because you can literally walk to your work in like 10 minutes, while others have to travel from far and wide! Please ignore the TMI). So, I’ve had to go to work a couple of times for a few hours during the past two weeks, which wasn’t that bad at all, hadn’t my siblings blamed me for “trying to kill our mum”; (Btw, have you heard this Coronavirus Rhapsody song, it already has 2.4 million views on YT, lol! Things people do when stuck at home!). Continue reading

Do you have a Language Privilege? — August 5, 2018

Do you have a Language Privilege?

Since my early teenage years, I had always wondered whether one’s nationality or gender has any effect on one’s capability to learn a language better.

I stumbled on this thought when I attended some lecture at school by a foreign teacher. I don’t exactly remember what the lecture was all about, but I remember the teacher telling us that we were quite lucky because, as per her, we have a neutral accent. So, basically, she was saying that we (the Nepalese) were lucky in terms of language learning, because we have a neutral accent. After that incident, the more I thought about it, the more it seemed true. And once I started learning Korean, I was reminded of this fact every single time.

As a Nepali growing up in one of the most culturally rich South Asian nations, Nepal, we essentially learn or know at least four languages: Nepali (네팔어,the national language), English (영어, the official teaching language at most schools, at least in all cites), one’s caste specific language (Newari 네왈어, in my case; Every caste has their own unique language), and Hindi (인도,that we learn from massive exposure to Indian television). And if you have a close friend that belongs to some other caste or if you live in a community with majority of people from some other caste, you are most likely to learn a fifth or even a sixth language.

So I know four languages just because I am a Nepali. I am fluent in Nepali and English. And I fully understand Newari and Hindi (but my speaking skills aren’t that good). And I am learning Korean. So, that makes it five. Therefore, my brain is already wired to handle multiple languages. Out of the four languages that I know, three (Nepali, Hindi and Newari) are quite similar in terms of structure, syntax and vocabulary (to some extent) although there are some stark differences as well; whereas English has a completely different structure on its own.

As for Korean, when I first started learning Korean, I picked up the basics such as the sentence structure, verb conjugation, etc., quite easily. I used to watch a lot of videos on YouTube (TTMIK, Koreanclass101, Conversational Korean, sweetandtastyTV and many more), and learn the verbs, basic nouns, pronouns, etc. I also used to look up a lot of videos and blog posts about how other foreigners were learning Korean, things like “tips for learning Korean or learning a second language, in general”.  And I began noticing that many people, mostly non-Asian English speaking Korean learners, struggled quite a lot, mostly at the beginning with the Korean sentence structure. But I couldn’t understand why that was the case, because for me, the sentence structure in Korean S-O-V “난 학교에 간다” which is “I to school go” in English was a very simple concept. You just push the verb to the end of the sentence. Moreover, although my native language is Nepali, I was learning Korean in English as well, the same way these English speakers were doing. So, I wondered why the whole verb-at-the-end-of-the-sentence” thing was not a problem for me at all. But, I felt quite stupid afterwards, when I realized that the whole S-O-V structure is exactly what Nepali AND Newari AND Hindi follows too. (It surprisingly took me quite a long time to realize that, as I was translating everything in English while learning Korean!) Therefore, although I was learning Korean in English, my brain was already used to shoving the verb to the end of the sentence. So the Korean structuring was nothing new for my brain at all.

This made me realize that just because I was a Nepali (still am btw), I could easily skip the whole process of wrapping my head around many concepts, the sentence structure being just one case. Well, I am not talking about just a simple “I go to school” structure, much longer sentences in Korean have an almost identical translation in Nepali. That is why, all I needed to do was learn the words, build my vocabulary and I was all good to go. For example, a sentence like “I got tons of compliments for my looks at yesterday’s party”  which is something like “Ma hijo office ko party ma gako ta sable malai kasto ramri dekheko vane”, is almost identical in Korean: 어제 (난) 회사 파티에 갔더니, 다들 정말 예쁘다고 말했다/칭찬했다. To illustrate what I am saying, let’s see a whole dialogue.

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Language Tag! — February 17, 2016

Language Tag!

And I thought I knew it all!

Ever since I started pursuing my language goals, I really thought I had read all that is to read about language learning,  watched all the videos on learning languages that is needed (and that is humanly possible within the time that I had on my disposal) to have a good knowledge on it; and I thought I followed, well, not exactly followed, but at least was well aware of all the trends in the linguistics world. But how wrong I was! Coz when dearest Liz from JumpingJacqueline tagged me in this language tag, I had not the faintest idea what a “Language Tag” was. But I’m ABSOLUTELY THRILLED to learn about it and it’s all thanks to dearest LIZ♥  ♥  ♥ Hugs & Kisses ♥  ♥  ♥ ).

So, here I am, doing my own language tag. Oh yes! Do check out her post as well! – A brief account by Liz herself, a passionate language learner, from a country where 1652 languages are spoken, and who herself has ventured into the realm of seven languages, but has finally settled in with her love for Japanese. It’s quite interesting that even with such close cultural, religious, historical and linguistic ties between Nepal and India, there still are so many things that you didn’t know about each other. Anyways, let’s get right on it!


What would you consider your native language?

My native language is Nepali (नेपाली) or 네팔어 (as they say in Korean). Continue reading

A Look Back at 2015 and New Year Resolutions for 2016! — January 4, 2016

A Look Back at 2015 and New Year Resolutions for 2016!

안녕하세요 얼어분! 새해 복 많이 받으세요 !

Hello Everybody ! Happy New Year!

(Source: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=899273)

My! Oh! My! It’s 2015! I really can’t believe it that 2015 is over. In the past, when people used to tell me things like the year passed so quickly and time flies, etc, I used to be rather skeptical and used to think “Duh! It’s 365 days for god’s sake!” BUT, I would like to extend my sincere apologies to all those people for thinking like that as that is exactly what I am feeling right now.

When I look back at 2015 now, I guess 2015 was quite eventful after all. Continue reading

A side-effect of learning languages, One that you can’t help but love! — December 27, 2015

A side-effect of learning languages, One that you can’t help but love!

안녕하세요 여러분! 진짜 오랜마넵니다!

Hi Everybody! I’m BAAAACCCCKKKK after REAALLLYYYY a long time!

I always tried to write at least one post every week, but for the past six weeks or so I haven’t been able to write a single post. (A SINGLE POST! My Goodness!) It actually feels like ages! So, I couldn’t wait to get back to it!

The reason why I was so busy was that I recently started a new job. YEAH! ㅎㅎㅎ

It’s actually my first, proper job ever!  So I am working full time now. 정규직원으로 일하고 있습니다! So, I have been pretty busy. It’s my first job after completing my Masters degree. And I have loads to learn as it is a training period for me, for at least the next couple of months. Therefore, a typical day for me thesedays consists of going to work, and after coming home from work – reviewing and studying a lot of things related to my work. So, I’ve rarely had any time to squeeze in some proper “Korean” studying time. (I am missing it like crazy!).  Strangely, I am knackered by the time I reach home although the work is not that difficult (‘t must be due to concentrating too much at work). But I am finally getting used to my daily routine and I’ve been planning & organizing my time so that I am able to, not just squeeze in my 한국어 time, but rather let it shove in and push its way around to grab the lion’s share of my off-work-hours. Also, of course, I need to manage my time for blogging too!


Anyways, today as my “Comeback” post (컴백 포스트) (and perhaps my last post for 2015, Gosh! Can’t believe, its 2016 already!) , I want to talk about a unique habit (Can you even call it a habit?) that I have seemed to develop as a result of my Korean Language Learning. Continue reading

Can you hear it too? 들려요? — November 16, 2015

Can you hear it too? 들려요?

Spoiler Alert!
Watch this video if you’ve already watched the drama: “I can hear your voice” -너의 목소리가 들려”
Watch this video if you don’t want any spoilers and if you plan to watch this drama in the future.
(Gosh! I hate spoilers!)

After watching (or rather, listening to) this OST video from the Lee Jong Suk & Lee Bo Young starring K-drama “I can hear your voice” -너의 목소리가 들려” , you must be thinking that I am going to talk about Korean dramas again. Well! Not quite! Continue reading

New Post in 코인의 코너 Blog – “네팔에 있는 문화” – “Culture of Nepal” plus “Languages of Nepal” — November 7, 2015

New Post in 코인의 코너 Blog – “네팔에 있는 문화” – “Culture of Nepal” plus “Languages of Nepal”

In my last post, I told you that I started my first Korean blog.

And I just wrote my first proper post in my Korean blog 코인의 코너 – Korean’s Korner in NAVER. It is entitled “네팔에 있는 문화” – “Culture of Nepal”, where I briefly introduce six main aspects of the Nepalese culture.

  1. Caste system
  2. Languages
  3. Religion
  4. Festivals
  5. Food
  6. Dress

    Have a glimpse at my post:

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My “All-Korean” NAVER Blog Challenge! —

My “All-Korean” NAVER Blog Challenge!

Ok! I Ever since I started pursuing my Korean language study more seriously, I had a long awaited wish of being able to write a blog in Korean, no English, but proper, full 한국어.  I had been shilly shallying about it for quite a while now, as my writing skill is pretty bad and that’s the reason I wanted to start a blog in the first place i.e. TO PRACTISE WRITING. But the main problem was my lack of knowledge of the internet & computer related terminologies or vocabulary in Korean. And of course, my Achilles heel: my awful reading skills!  That will be the death of me! I All Korean blog hosting platforms, including NAVER, the one that I chose, are in Korean. (To know what is NAVER, read here). So navigation is a big problem. In fact, It is a catch 22 situation for me,  as I couldn’t start a blog because I couldn’t navigate the site properly, and I couldn’t navigate properly, as I didn’t start a blog sooner and didn’t get used to all the terminologies.

But last night, I thought, “What the hell!  한번 해보지 뭐! Let’s just get it over and done with. After all, I’ll have to start it someday. Better early than late! So I started a blog in NAVER called 코인의 코너” – “Koen’s Korner/Corner” (He he! 코코 or KK, which also happens to be one of my nicknames given to me by my dearest friend Kim ♥ ♥ ♥).  Please have a look at my blog here. Continue reading

The biggest mistake I made while learning Korean! What was yours? — November 4, 2015

The biggest mistake I made while learning Korean! What was yours?

Are you thinking of learning Korean or any other language that has its own unique script or alphabet? A language which is not based on the roman alphabets (like English)? If yes, then let me tell you about one of the biggest mistakes you are highly prone to make; a mistake that will tremendously slow your learning progress. Take my word for it, as I was stupid enough to make that mistake. So I want to warn all lexiophiles out there, not to repeat the same. (I am still suffering from the adverse effects of having done than).

Yes, the mistake was “learning romanization instead of learning Hangul, the Korean alphabet” (the simplest and the most brilliant alphabet system ever! Don’t you guys agree?). For those who are new to the term “romanization”, it is basically a system in linguistic, of converting the writing of a different writing system into the Roman or Latin system (the system on which English alphabets are based). So I learnt reading Korean through the romanized versions of the scripts (especially song lyrics), which happened to be a very bad decision on my part.

Now, you may ask: “Isn’t romanization supposed to be a useful guide for reading a language that has a different script? Isn’t it supposed to help you learn correct pronunciations?”. The answer would be “Yes” and “Yes”! But it seems to do more bad than good for language learners. Skeptical??? Here’s my explanation.

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